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The Living Vocabulary of The New York Times
Each of these passages from The New York Times features one or more vocabulary-enriching
words, expressions or terms. Each passage is followed by the writer’s name and the date it
appeared in The Times. To locate the entire item as it appeared in The Times, search on The
Times’s homepage www.nytimes.com using a few distinctive words from the passage, enclosed in
quotes. From the first passage below, for example, search “Greenwich is full of trees,” “yards of
several bemused neighbors,” and “"swapped her own grass for patches.”
On a daily basis, The Times is the richest source of vocabulary in the English language. Teachers
from elementary school through college could use The Times as their single source of vocabulary
instruction and never run out of new words, expressions and terms for their students to encounter
as they read the paper.
Many of the vocabulary words in these passages(they appear in blue) will be familiar to students
in their literal sense but unfamiliar in their figurative sense. Or they will be used in some other
unfamiliar. unusual or creative way.
Students of any age can broaden their vocabulary immensely by reading The Times for as little as
15 minutes or a half hour a day, and looking up in a dictionary just a word or two per day. (No
one should count on knowing the meaning of an unfamiliar word on first encountering it in
context, no matter how obvious its meaning seems. A dictionary is crucial. And while
encountering a word in context several times may help establish its correct meaning without
looking it up, it’s always a good idea to refer to a dictionary, even if it’s just to determine its
pronunciation. A combination of encountering a word multiple times, as well as looking it up in a
good dictionary, is the best strategy for truly knowing how to use it. Some recommended
dictionaries, hardcover and paperback: Webster’s New World, Merriam-Webster, Random
House, American Heritage, and dictionaries from Oxford University Press.)
Students who read just a few Times articles a day will re-encounter words that at one time were
new to them, gaining continuous reinforcment. Even in the selection below many words are
repeated in a variety of contexts — news, sports, reviews, editorials and Op-Ed. You’ll know you
know a word — that the word is yours — when, in the midst of speaking, writing or e-mailing, out
it comes.
Teachers with a page on their school’s Web site can place one or more of these Times passages
on it for students to read, find out the meaning of the vocabulary words, or do any other activity
the teacher devises. Most of the passages, or individual sentences from them, can serve as writing
or discussion prompts. Or, students can go to this page on their own computer to find the
passages the teacher wants them to read and work on, or cut and paste this entire list to their
own computer.
And remember, The New York Times, on paper or online, has hundreds of self-contained
passages like these every day.
Bob Greenman
[Note: Many of the passages below are combinations of two or more paragraphs.]
Sallie Baldwin, a graphic designer who lives in Greenwich, Conn., has been a moss lover for 18
years, during which she and her husband, Foster Bam, have gradually turned their front yard into
a moss lawn. “We have a lot of shade, because Greenwich is full of trees,” said Ms. Baldwin,
who has swapped her own grass for patches of moss growing in the yards of several bemused
neighbors. There is one slight hitch. “You have to go out and pull the grass. When my neighbors
walk by and I’m there pulling out the grass so the moss will grow, they think I’m a little crazy.”
(Jancee Dunn, 5/1/08)
Ever since Chicago reporters followed the up-and-coming Obama and saw him flicking his ashes
and butts out the windows of moving vehicles, the senator has had a testy relationship with the
press about his addictions to cigarettes and littering. (Maureen Dowd, 4/6/08)
Was Big Daddy always such a potty mouth? While the current production of Tennessee
Williams’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” has garnered attention for its all-black cast, it is the saltiness
of Big Daddy, played with unrestrained ribaldry by James Earl Jones, and particularly his liberal
use of a certain four-letter word, that has raised the eyebrows of some theatergoers.
(Campbell Robertson, 2/23/08)
CULLMAN, Ala. — The racial breakthroughs have come gingerly in Alabama over the years: a
black mayor there, an old Klansman put on trial here, a civil rights memorial there.
(Adam Nossiter, 2/21/08)
Even though Nazareth, Pa., isn’t quite the holy city its namesake is, pilgrims with a musical bent
still go there every weekday in search of a potentially spiritual experience. They head to a quaint
brick building, lured by the promise of taking a tour at the C. F. Martin & Company guitar
factory. (Peter Gerstenzang, 2/22/08)
WASHINGTON — President Bush broke his silence on the 2008 presidential race on Sunday,
giving his imprimatur to Senator John McCain of Arizona as a “true conservative,” who
nonetheless has “got some convincing to do” to persuade fellow Republicans of his bona fides
with the right. (Sheryl Gay Stolberg, 2/11/08)
The idea that some people’s perfumes are other people’s fumes is not new. In 1738, Alexander
Pope wrote in a disparaging verse about over-fragranced nobles: “And all your courtly civet-cats
can vent, Perfume to you, to me is excrement.” (Natasha Singer, 2/14/08)
WASHINGTON — President Bush often denounces the propensity of Congress to earmark
money for pet projects. But in his new budget, Mr. Bush has requested money for thousands of
similar projects. He asked for money to build fish hatcheries, eradicate agricultural pests, conduct
research, pave highways, dredge harbors and perform many other specific local tasks. The details
are buried deep in the president’s budget, just as most Congressional earmarks are buried in
obscure committee reports that accompany spending bills. (Robert Pear, 2/10/08)
Maria Shriver woke up Sunday morning and decided to surprise the audience at a rally for
Senator Barack Obama in Los Angeles, materializing alongside Oprah Winfrey and telling the
crowd she was there because she sought “an America that’s about unity.” (Jodi Kantor, 2/4/08)
Loretta and Linda Sanchez, the only sisters in the House of Representatives, have endorsed Mrs.
Clinton and Mr. Obama, respectively. (Jodi Kantor, 2/4/08)
Standing between a marriage of Microsoft and Yahoo may be the technology behemoth that has
continually outsmarted them: Google. In an unusually aggressive effort to prevent Microsoft from
moving forward with its $44.6 billion hostile bid for Yahoo, Google emerged over the weekend
with plans to play the role of spoiler. (Andrew Ross Sorkin and Miguel Helft, 2/4/08)
It is far too easy to become inured to bad news from Africa, a continent of great promise and
peril. Kenya’s rampage of ethnically driven killings that is now five weeks long is especially
sickening and attention-grabbing because of how much hope the world had for Kenya’s
democracy and economic revival — and how fast the country has descended into madness.
(Editorial, 2/2/08)
While “The Maddening Truth,” which has been smoothly directed by Carl Forsman, is
fascinating as a character study, its weakness as a play is the paucity of dramatic conflict. Except
for a shouting match or two with a reporter and one excellent scene in which Gellhorn, trying to
write a novel in Kenya, confronts Hemingway’s ghost, the 100-minute show is mainly a chronicle
of her life. (Wilborn Hampton, 2/1/08)
CHAPPAQUA, N.Y.The rest of the country may be transfixed by the rancor, tumult and passion
of this year’s presidential race, with its backwash of race, war and ambition, its internecine feuds
and intensely personalized politics, it’s cavalcade of hot-button issues. But here in Hillary
Clinton’s adopted hometown (and, for what little it’s worth, mine, too), people tend to be a little
bit more blasé. After all, Chappaqua, where the Clintons are a fairly regular presence around
town, has seen this before — dating not to 1999, when the Clintons bought their house on Old
House Lane, but to 1872, when the famed newspaper editor Horace Greeley mounted the first
presidential campaign here. (Peter Applebome, 1/31/08)
Monday night’s address made us think what a different speech it might have been if Mr. Bush had
capitalized on the unity that followed the 9/11 attacks to draw the nation together, rather than to
arrogate ever more power and launch his misadventure in Iraq. (Editorial, 1/29/08)
In April 1865 Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, putting an end to four years of
savage internecine conflict and settling the issue of slavery forever. “The war is over,” Grant said.
“The rebels are our countrymen again.” (William Grimes, 1/30/08)
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — In the thousand or so years since humans discovered the
remote islands that make up New Zealand, three-quarters of the indigenous bird species have
been driven to extinction, and until recently, it looked as if the kiwi could follow.
(Tim Johnston, 12/28/07)
Watchmen,” a dark superhero film, opens March 6 and is expected to do megawatt business. It is
to be followed by “Monsters vs. Aliens,” a 3-D behemoth from DreamWorks Animation that
analysts expect to have the biggest March opening ever for a nonsequel.
(Michael Cieply and Brooks Barnes, 2/28/09)
In the 2000 campaign, it was possible for Mr. Bush to deride Mr. Gore’s environmentalism to
considerable effect. Eight years later, Mr. Gore is a Nobel laureate, and coiled light bulbs and
hybrid cars are status symbols. (Kevin Sack, 1/24/08)
Obviously, Sept. 11 and its aftermath have changed the country in countless and irretrievable
ways. But even beyond the emergence of war and national security as pre-eminent concerns, there
has been a profound reordering of domestic priorities, a darkening of the country’s mood and, in
the eyes of many, a fraying of America’s very sense of itself. (Kevin Sack, 1/24/08)
In this age of rapidly rising restaurant prices, it’s heartening to find a new place that serves a
nine-course tasting menu for $40. The portions aren’t Lilliputian, the folks who work there are
friendly and attentive and nothing on the à la carte menu costs more than $12.
(Peter Meehan, 1/23/08)
GREEN BAY, Wis. — A year ago, when the Giants retained Coach Tom Coughlin despite the
season’s disappointing finish, John Mara, the team president and co-owner, heard about it from
disgruntled fans. Outside the Giants Stadium offices, it was not a popular decision.
(John Branch, 1/22/08)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Giants punter Jeff Feagles, who is also the team’s holder on
field-goal and extra-point attempts, has been around a lot of kickers in his 20 N.F.L. seasons. He
knows that in the uncompromising world of pro football, they are ultimately judged by their
failures. (Bill Pennington, 1/22/08)
The ousted editor of The Los Angeles Times on Monday offered a scathing critique of the
newspaper industry and specifically his longtime employer, the Tribune Company, arguing that
cost cuts, a lack of investment and an aversion to serious news was damaging the business.
(Richard Perez-Pena, 1/22/08)
As the writers’ strike keeps the television networks scrambling to fill their schedules, the
producers of reality shows are gladly stepping in to fill the vacuum. And with the propensity of
those producers to incorporate the products of sponsors into the programs, don’t be surprised if
the vacuum bears a brand name like Hoover or Dyson. (Stuart Elliot, 1/23/08)
Europe’s dinner tables are increasingly supplied by global fishing fleets, which are depleting the
world’s oceans to feed the ravenous consumers who have become the most effective predators of
fish. (Elisabeth Rosenthal, 1/15/08)
CHATHAM, N.J. — The second-floor suite in the Parrot Mill Inn has all the accouterments of a
classic bed-and-breakfast, including stenciled flowers beneath the ceiling, candies wrapped in
gold foil, and the scent of spices in the hallway. (Tina Kelley, 1/14/08)
South Carolina has had a long, and infamous, tradition of hardball political attacks, involving
scurrilous allegations and whispering campaigns that, while false, are hard to disprove and
politically damaging. With the Republican primary coming on Saturday and the Democratic
primary seven days later, mud is in full swing. (Leslie Wayne, 1/17/08)
Sheldon G. Adelson, the casino mogul, has seen his personal net worth plummet by more than
$15 billion in recent months as Wall Street investors have grown more bearish about the casino
companies that are pushing aggressively into Asia. (Gary Rivlin, 1/17/08)
George MacDonald Fraser, a British writer whose popular novels about the arch-rogue Harry
Flashman followed their hero as he galloped, swashbuckled, drank and womanized his way
through many of the signal events of the 19th century, died yesterday on the Isle of Man. He was
82 and had made his home there in recent years. (Margalit Fox, 1/3/08)
Late one night in the summer of 2005, Matthew Sepi, a 20-year-old Iraq combat veteran, headed
out to a 7-Eleven in the seedy Las Vegas neighborhood where he had settled after leaving the
Army. This particular 7-Eleven sits in the shadow of the Stratosphere casino-hotel in a section of
town called the Naked City. By day, the area, littered with malt liquor cans, looks depressed but
not menacing. By night, it becomes, in the words of a local homicide detective, “like Falluja.”
(Deborah Sontag and Lizette Alvarez, 1/13/08)
RENO, Nev. — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday accused Senator Barack Obama’s
campaign of distorting her remarks to suggest that she had cast aspersions on the Rev. Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. She said she was “personally offended” by the way her statement had been
portrayed, and accused Mr. Obama’s campaign of being divisive.
(Adam Nagourney and Patrick Healy, 1/13/08)
With unusually dismissive language, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg offered tart assessments of
his potential presidential rivals at a news conference on Wednesday, suggesting they are offering
meaningless bromides rather than serious answers to the problems confronting the country.
(Diane Cardwell, 1/3/08)
Out of panic and ideology, President Bush squandered America’s position of moral and political
leadership, swept aside international institutions and treaties, sullied America’s global image, and
trampled on the constitutional pillars that have supported our democracy through the most
terrifying and challenging times. These policies have fed the world’s anger and alienation and
have not made any of us safer. (Editorial, 12/31/07)
Hundreds of men, swept up on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, were thrown into a prison
in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, so that the White House could claim they were beyond the reach of
American laws. Prisoners are held there with no hope of real justice, only the chance to face a
kangaroo court where evidence and the names of their accusers are kept secret, and where they
are not permitted to talk about the abuse they have suffered at the hands of American jailers.
(Editorial, 12/31/07)
HOOKSET, N.H. — With the political world focused on Iowa, Rudolph W. Giuliani released a
graphic new television advertisement here Wednesday in which scenes of Osama bin Laden firing
a rifle segue to the smoking wreckage of the World Trade Center. (Michael Cooper, 1/3/08)
PARIS — Overnight, conviviality has taken on an entirely new meaning in France. Under a
sweeping decree that took effect Wednesday, smoking has been banned in every commercial
corner of “entertainment and conviviality” — from the toniest Parisian nightclub to the humblest
village cafe. (Elaine Sciolino, 12/26/07)
Prof. John A. Garraty, a historian who wrestled into print the gargantuan reference work
American National Biography, which in 24 volumes and 20 million words tells the story of the
United States through the life histories of thousands of its citizens, died last Wednesday at his
home in Sag Harbor, N.Y. He was 87.(Margalit Fox, 12/26/07)
Reports about the diminishing relevance of classical music to new generations of Americans
addled by pop culture keep coming. Yet in my experience classical music seems in the midst of
an unmistakable rebound. Most of the concerts and operas I attended this year drew large, eager
and appreciative audiences. (Anthony Tommasini, 12/27/07)
In recent years a spate of articles and books have lamented classical music’s tenuous hold on the
popular imagination and defended its richness, complexity and communicative power. I’m
thinking especially of the book “Why Classical Music Still Matters” (University of California
Press, 2007) by Lawrence Kramer, a professor of English and music at Fordham University.
(Anthony Tommasini, 12/27/07)
Most young people in today’s interactive, amplified, high-tech world may not instinctively be
enticed by the idea of sitting quietly and contemplating a long musical work in a natural
acoustical setting. Yet I’ve taken young friends and other classical music neophytes to concerts
over the years and been routinely struck by how absorbed they become during, say, a blazing
account of Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” even while all around us older, restless concertgoers are
fiddling in their seats and rustling the pages of their programs. (Anthony Tommasini, 12/27/07)
In 1883, Amy Marcy Cheney, a 16-year-old piano prodigy from the little town of Henniker, N.H.,
made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, performing Beethoven's Concerto No. 3
with a cadenza she had composed herself. But when she was 18, her performing career was cut
short by her marriage to a socially prominent Boston surgeon more than twice her age, Henry
Harris Aubrey Beach. The social mores of the time prevented her from touring as a pianist, taking
piano pupils or even receiving professional instruction in composition; any of these, it was
thought, would reflect poorly on her husband's ability to provide for her. (David Wright, 9/6/98)
It could well be that if television had been around in the olden days, King Lear would have left
the heath in a heartbeat to do “The View” and “Larry King Live,” and Hester Prynne would have
flaunted her scarlet A on “Oprah.” (Alessandra Stanley, 1/29/09)
Joe Torre’s new book, “The Yankee Years,” includes predictable misgivings about the thousands
of decisions he made in his 12 years as the team’s manager and some surprising revelations that
may make readers scratch their heads. (Michael S. Schmidt, 1/26/09)
LOS ANGELES — The excavation for a parking garage near the La Brea tar pits here has
yielded the site’s first intact mammoth skeleton as well as a trove of other bones that could
double the size of the site’s already large collection of fossils from the last ice age.
(Edward Wyatt, 2/19/09)
SHARM EL SHEIK, Egypt — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her first foray into
Middle East diplomacy, landed in this Red Sea resort on Sunday, carrying a pledge of $300
million for war-torn Gaza. (Mark Landler, 3/2/09)
WASHINGTON — The task of keeping a president in touch with his public is daunting, as Mike
Kelleher well knows.Tens of thousands of letters, e-mail messages and faxes arrive at the White
House every day. A few hundred are culled and end up each weekday afternoon on a round
wooden table in the office of Mr. Kelleher, the director of the White House Office of
Correspondence. (Ashley Parker, 4/20/09)
As publishers reel from the recession and a plunge in advertising, the Reader’s Digest
Association said Thursday that it would lay off close to 300 people, about 8 percent of its work
force, as well as put employees on unpaid furloughs and suspend contributions to their 401(k)
plans. (Richard Pérez-Peña, 1/30/09)
Sugar, the nutritional pariah that dentists and dietitians have long reviled, is enjoying a second
act, dressed up as a natural, healthful ingredient.From the tomato sauce on a Pizza Hut pie called
“The Natural,” to the just-released soda Pepsi Natural, some of the biggest players in the
American food business have started, in the last few months, replacing high-fructose corn syrup
with old-fashioned sugar. (Kim Severson, 3/21/09)
The daring works Prokofiev wrote while a student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory dismayed
his conservative teachers, including Glazunov. But Prokofiev, the enfant terrible composer, found
a lively outlet for his adventurous music in the Evenings for Contemporary Music, rowdy and
bohemian monthly concerts organized by avant-garde enthusiasts. (Vivien Schweitzer, 3/9/09)
Leonard Bernstein’s children have donated the carefully preserved contents of his main
composing studio to Indiana University, which has promised to recreate the space. The items run
from the deeply meaningful to the banal. They include Bernstein’s stand-up composing table; a
conducting stool that may have been used by Brahms, given as a gift by the Vienna Philharmonic;
an electric pencil sharpener; a telephone; an ashtray and disposable lighters; 39 Grammynomination plaques; and a piece of the Berlin Wall. (Bernstein conducted an international
orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony near site of the wall shortly after it was taken down.)
(Daniel J. Wakin, 3/9/09)
The television cameras were rolling, the journalists were scribbling and the first lady, Michelle
Obama, was standing in a soup kitchen rhapsodizing about steamed broccoli. And homemade
mushroom risotto. And freshly baked apple-carrot muffins. (Rachel L. Swarns, 3/11/09)
''The School of Paris exists,'' the French art critic Andre Warnod announced solemnly in 1925.
And with that, the myriad foreign artists who had flocked to Paris since the turn of the century
were given a name. Or perhaps a misnomer. Beyond being foreigners in Paris, all they had in
common was devotion to personal and artistic freedom. Warnod's point, however, was that Paris
deserved credit for the flowering of their talent. (Alan Riding, 1/11/01)
This year, Beijing becomes the latest Chinese city to rescind a ban on fireworks during the Lunar
New Year. The bans were instituted because of concerns about injuries, noise, fire and pollution,
but public demand has prompted their repeal. Officials attribute the change to a desire for a more
"festive atmosphere." (Jim Yardley, 1/27/06)
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 26 — Hamas's overwhelming victory in the Palestinian
elections on Thursday was met with a mixture of jubilation and consternation in much of the Arab
world. For some, it raised the concern that, in winning, the Islamic group will almost certainly
have to lose something. (Hassan M. Fattah, 1/27/06)
The Yankees were fastidious about ensuring that their new stadium had the look and feel of their
original one. That includes games during the off-season. (Ken Belson, 7/21/09)
Jack Dreyfus, a New York financier who ran one of the nation’s most successful mutual funds but
left Wall Street on a quixotic crusade to promote an epilepsy drug as a miracle cure-all, died
Friday in Manhattan. He was 95. (Jad Mouawad, 3/28/09)
COLUMBIA, S.C. — For a millionaire, Gov. Mark Sanford has a reputation for frugality that
borders on the extreme. Former employees say he has been known to require his staff to use both
sides of a Post-it note. When Mr. Sanford was a congressman, he slept on a futon in his office and
returned his housing allowance. And when, after he moved into the Governor’s Mansion here, tax
collectors declared his family’s home on Sullivan’s Island a secondary residence subject to a
higher tax rate, he appealed and won. (Shaila Dewan, 4/4/09)
Dr. William B. Schwartz, a leading health economist whose studies of the effects of market forces
on medicine led him to predict that unbridled costs could lead to a rationing of care, died on
March 15 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86. (Jeremy Pearce, 4/4/09)
NEW DELHI — When the Indian composer A. R. Rahman accepted two Oscars for his work on
“Slumdog Millionaire,” he saved his most effusive thanks for his mother. “Mother’s here, her
blessings are there with me,” Mr. Rahman, 43, told 36 million Oscar viewers. “I am grateful for
her to have come all the way.” Later, he remembered to thank his wife, who had also come with
him to California. (Heather Timmons, 4/4/09)
MOSCOW — On Tuesday, six people will be voluntarily locked into a cloister of cramped,
hermetically sealed tubes woven inside a Moscow research facility the size of a high school
gymnasium. They will eat dehydrated food, breathe recycled air and be denied conversation with
practically everyone else but one another. And they must stay inside for 105 days. In a small step
in the direction of Mars, the international crew is embarking on a simulated flight to the planet to
test the limits of human tolerance for the isolation and monotony of interplanetary travel.
(Michael Schwirtz, 3/31/09)
For generations the publishing industry has worked on a fairly standard schedule, taking nine
months to a year after an author delivered a manuscript to put finished books in stores. Now,
enabled in part by e-book technology and fueled by a convergence of spectacularly dramatic news
events, publishers are hitting the fast-forward button. (Motoko Rich, 3/30/09)
Many Korean immigrants are well educated but have been unable to find employment
commensurate with their educational level, Professor Min said. (Kirk Semple, 3/28/09)
I asked a friend of mine, an inveterate punster, whether he punned while on dates. “Sure, I pun on
dates,” he replied. “On prunes and figs, too.” (Joseph Tartakovsky, 3/28/09)
Created in 1930, with a banana cream filling, rather than the vanilla of today, Twinkies — love
’em or hate ’em — are about as emblematic as junk food gets. With 39 ingredients, 150
shamelessly empty calories and, officially, a shelf life of about three weeks, the Twinkie is a
cream-filled symbol of American culture. Their mysterious longevity even earned them a joke in
“Wall-E,” Pixar’s postapocalyptic robot love story. (Michael J. de la Merced, 2/6/09)
One of the more fascinating elements of the Alex Rodriguez steroid chronicles is how willing
people — some even in the news media — have been to decry the breach of confidential drug
testing, along with the messenger. But isn’t that what a free press is largely about, getting to the
bottom of unsavory things that are not necessarily intended to be known? (Harvey Araton, 3/3/09)
There’s probably not a chef in town who can turn out chicken as tender as Mr. Bouley’s,
garnished with black truffle and a fresh almond purée. (Frank Bruni, 3/25/09)
TRIPOLI, Libya — Forty years after he seized power in a bloodless coup d’état, Col. Muammar
el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader once called the mad dog of the Middle East by President Ronald
Reagan, has achieved the international status he always craved, as chairman of the African Union.
(Michael Slackman, 3/23/09)
Like most boarding schools, Miss Porter’s has its lingo and idiosyncrasies. A freshman is a “new
girl.” A senior is an “old girl.” An alumna is an “ancient.” The senior class president is known as
the head of school. Rituals dating back over a century — and which are known as “the traditions”
— are alive and well. (Fernanda Santos, 3/22/09)
Almost since the dawn of the telephone, people have sought to avoid the unwelcome caller,
relying on technologies from the answering machine to caller ID. But pranksters, harassers, bill
collectors and telemarketers have found ways to circumvent caller ID by hiding their identities —
listing a telephone number as “private caller” or “restricted” with their phone company.
(Elizabeth Olson, 3/15/09)
Mr. Obama’s graying is still of the flecked variety, and appears to wax and wane depending on
when he gets his hair cut, which he does about every two weeks. His barber, who goes by only
one name, Zariff, takes umbrage with bloggers who alternately claim Mr. Obama, 47, is dyeing
his hair gray (to appear more distinguished) or dyeing it black (to appear younger). “I can tell you
that his hair is 100 percent natural,” Zariff said. “He wouldn’t get it colored.”
(Helene Cooper, 3/5/09)
More than a decade ago, a Los Angeles filmmaker and peace activist named James Otis began
collecting items that represented the ascetic lifestyle of Mohandas K. Gandhi. They were the
simple belongings of a man who did not care for possessions: his steel-framed spectacles, a pair
of sandals, a bowl, a plate and a pocket watch. (A.G. Sulzberger and Sewell Chan, 3/6/09)
It is a long way from Kazakhstan to Kentucky, but the journey to the Derby may have started
among a pastoral people on the Kazakh steppes who appear to have been the first to domesticate,
bridle and perhaps ride horses — around 3500 B.C., a millennium earlier than previously thought.
(John Noble Wilford, 3/6/09)
In late December, Marissa Mayer was vacationing in Africa when her boss, Jonathan Rosenberg,
e-mailed her asking if she was leaving Google. It wasn’t a routine query. As the gatekeeper of
Google’s home page, and one of the company’s most ubiquitous and closely watched public
faces, Ms. Mayer controls the look, feel and functionality of the Internet’s most heavily trafficked
search engine. Rumors of her possible departure had lit up the blogosphere and offices across
Silicon Valley. (Laura M Holson, 3/1/09)
DENVER — Researchers into the ancient human past are used to wandering the world in search
of artifacts. But scientists at the University of Colorado said Wednesday that a major cache of
Stone Age tools, believed to be 13,000 years old, had been found in a suburban backyard just six
blocks from the campus in Boulder. “I’m used to going hell and gone across the landscape to
look,” said Douglas Bamforth, a professor of anthropology who analyzed the cache. “This time I
walked.” (Kirk Johnson, 2/26/09)
On a nondescript street corner in Hollis, Queens, a small — and quite affordable — burger joint
opened recently. (Cory Kilgannon, 2/20/09)
Susan Illston was an accomplished trial lawyer when the N.F.L. hired her in the 1980s to fight a
referee’s wrongful termination lawsuit. But she knew nothing about football. Illston, now the
federal judge presiding over the Barry Bonds case, was a quick study. She spent hours reviewing
game tape and memorizing rule-book trivia, recalled Joseph W. Cotchett, her former law partner.
“By the time the case started, she knew more about the game than the so-called geniuses of
football,” he said. A jury ruled in the league’s favor. (Katie Thomas, 2/27/09)
In a veiled gibe at the Bush years, Mr. Obama said his budget broke “from a troubled past” and
attributed the current economic maelstrom to “an era of profound irresponsibility that engulfed
both private and public institutions from some of our largest companies’ executive suites to the
seats of power in Washington, D.C.” (Jackie Calmes, 2/27/09)
The contrasting images were pretty astounding: W. and Laura back in Texas, puttering around the
new hood, borrowing chairs from the Secret Service next door to have a big dinner party,
oblivious to the shrieks of pain, anger, shock and fear around the country, while Barack Obama
engaged in a Sisyphean struggle to push the huge boulder of grief left behind by Bush up the hill.
(Maureen Dowd, 3/1/09)
Mr. Obama may not be able to exit Iraq expeditiously; as Tom Ricks, the respected military
correspondent and author of “The Gamble,” points out, this is the sixth plan he has covered that
attempts to get U.S. forces out of Iraq. (Editorial, 2/25/09)
WASHINGTON — President Obama is nearing a decision that would order American combat
forces out of Iraq by August 2010 as he seeks to finally end a war that has consumed and
polarized the United States for nearly six years, senior administration officials said
Tuesday. (Peter Baker and Elizabeth Bumiller, 2/25/09)
ALBANY — Not long after David A. Paterson became governor, he gathered his senior staff at a
mountainside estate 30 miles from the capital to shape an agenda for his fledgling administration.
(Danny Hakim and Nicholas Confessore, 2/23/09)
The musical monarch of the Magic Kingdom, with stacks of awards for his Disney movie songs,
Alan Menken represents the dead center of commercial pop taste in America. His corporateapproved tunes voiced by animated characters purveying cheer, self-help and cooperation are
really extended jingles for the omnivorous Disney brand. (Stephen Holden, 2/23/09)
TAMPA, Fla. — Alex Rodriguez was mostly mute as he signed autographs along the left-field
fence on a satellite field at the Yankees’ spring training facility Friday. He signed a baseball and
moved a few inches, signed another ball and then moved again. But one vocal fan finally snagged
his attention. “Hey, Alex, just win and all of this stuff goes away,” the man said.
(Jack Curry, 2/21/09)
Despite Starbucks’ ubiquity, not even one in 10 cups of coffee consumed in North America is
made by Starbucks, the company said. Instant coffee is one way to get its product into more
Americans’ mugs. It is marketing Via as coffee that can be consumed between appointments, in
the car, on a flight or in a cubicle. (Claire Cain Miller, 2/18/09)
President Obama and his aides haven’t completed their policy review for Afghanistan — one of
the most dangerous of the many foreign policy disasters George W. Bush so blithely left behind.
(Editorial, 2/20/09)
In coming weeks, Mr. Obama will have to grapple with a series of very difficult questions starting
with how he will define success in Afghanistan. (Editorial, 2/20/09)
Curing the common cold, one of medicine’s most elusive goals, may now be in the realm of the
possible. Researchers said Thursday that they had decoded the genomes of the 99 strains of
common cold virus and developed a catalog of its vulnerabilities. “We are now quite certain that
we see the Achilles’ heel, and that a very effective treatment for the common cold is at hand,”
said Stephen B. Liggett, an asthma expert at the University of Maryland and co-author of the
finding. (Nicholas Wade, 2/13/09)
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — To many Americans, Maya Arulpragasam, known as M.I.A., is the
very pregnant rapper who gyrated across the stage at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Yet in Sri
Lanka, where she spent her childhood years, M.I.A. remains virtually unknown. And some who
do know her work say she is an apologist for the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels fighting in the
country’s long-running civil war. (Thomas Fuller, 2/11/09)
Like many of the prominent engineers of his day, Mr. Shepherd demonstrated a precocious gift
for electronics. He is said to have built a vacuum tube at the age of 6 and a radio shortly
thereafter. He graduated from high school at 14. (Ashlee Vance, 2/11/09)
NEW DELHI — A mob attack on women drinking in a college-town bar has set off the latest
battle in the great Indian culture wars, uncorking a national debate over moral policing and its
political repercussions, and laying bare the limits of freedom for young Indian women.
(Somini Sengupta, 2/9/09)
There are many scenes and images in “Coraline” that are likely to scare children. This is not a
warning but rather a recommendation, since the cultivation of fright can be one of the great
pleasures of youthful moviegoing. As long as it doesn’t go too far toward violence or mortal
dread, a film that elicits a tingle of unease or a tremor of spookiness can be a tonic to sensibilities
dulled by wholesome, anodyne, school-approved entertainments. (A.O. Scott, 2/6/09)
My father didn’t leave me much when he died. Although he was at one time a fast-rising
executive in a multinational company, a combination of corporate skullduggery and his own
personal demons meant he had little in the bank when he died in 2001, a few days before his 70th
birthday. (Stephen Amidon, 2/8/09)
Created in 1930, with a banana cream filling, rather than the vanilla of today, Twinkies — love
’em or hate ’em — are about as emblematic as junk food gets. With 39 ingredients, 150
shamelessly empty calories and, officially, a shelf life of about three weeks, the Twinkie is a
cream-filled symbol of American culture. Their mysterious longevity even earned them a joke in
“Wall-E,” Pixar’s postapocalyptic robot love story. (Michael J. de la Merced, 2/6/09)
Finally, the onus was on Ben Roethlisberger. Win us a Super Bowl, his shattered defense told
him. Bail us out. Save our season. (Harvey Araton, 2/2/09)
From the time he arrived in the United States from Chile as a college student in 1965, the
photographer Camilo José Vergara has been haunting, and haunted by, American cities.
(Holland Cotter, 5/29/09)
In 1933, as today, a new president stepped into the White House, vowing change and decisive
action at a time when a banking crisis posed a grave threat to the nation’s economy. The
economic morass that confronted Franklin D. Roosevelt 76 years ago was undeniably deeper and
more ominous than the trouble President Obama is facing. Yet, according to economists and
historians, there are also some telling similarities and cautionary lessons to be drawn from the
experience of the Roosevelt years in the 1930s.(Steve Lohr, 1/27/09)
With the pageantry of Tuesday’s inaugural festivities behind them, Mr. Obama and his team spent
Wednesday grappling with matters as mundane as e-mail access and getting to work (some aides
arrived at the gates of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Tuesday morning to discover they lacked
clearance to enter) and as weighty as Senate confirmation of cabinet secretaries.
(Sheryl Gay Stolberg, 1/22/09)
MOSCOW — Fedor Emelianenko has been described as superhuman: as the No. 1 mixed martial
arts fighter in the world, he has never been knocked out, and he often defeats opponents in a
matter of minutes with a hail of thundering punches, never breaking his stony, stoic air.
(Michael Schwirtz, 1/21/09)
In the early 1960s, when he moved to New York from Fort Worth to pursue a career as a painter,
Robert A. Ellison Jr. spent much of his time exploring the city, perusing antiques stores, thrift
shops and flea markets for things, he said, “they didn’t have in Texas.” (Carol Vogel, 1/15/09)
The ardor among marketers for Barack Obama is intensifying with the approach of Inauguration
Day, when, it seems, they intend to name him the nation’s new consumer in chief. Mr. Obama’s
election set off a boom in merchandise, official or otherwise, that has come to be called
Obamabilia. Among the myriad offerings are coins, plaques, plates, clothing, magazines,
newspapers, books, posters, DVDs, jewelry, dolls, greeting cards and jigsaw puzzles. By some
estimates, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Obama treasures, trinkets and tchotchkes have
been sold since Election Day. (Stuart Elliott, 1/15/09)
TEMPE, Ariz. — When Arizona Cardinals Coach Ken Whisenhunt made an about-face on his
way off the field last Saturday and embarked on a spirited victory lap after his team’s first-round
playoff victory against Atlanta, it was clearly an impromptu decision. (Billy Witz, 1/10/09)
Sunday River is the behemoth of the Eastern ski industry that only Boston-area skiers seem to
know about. Even people in Vermont, upstate New York or Southern New England don’t often
venture to Sunday River. It is a sprawling mountain getaway with few crowds. It is the unhurried,
somewhat untried giant waiting to be fully discovered 50 years after it opened.
(Bill Pennington, 1/9/09)
Charles Morgan Jr., a leading civil rights lawyer who was often vilified and threatened by fellow
whites during the turbulent 1960s in the South but who pressed on to win a landmark lawsuit that
helped establish the so-called one-person-one-vote rule, giving blacks more equitable
representation in legislative districts, died Thursday at his home in Destin, Fla. He was 78.
(Roy Reed, 1/10/09)
Is there any exhortation more predictable in tone — and more saccharine in text — than the
commencement speech? It’s a time-honored, timeworn vessel of good faith and great
expectations, bedecked with rays of sunshine and glittering with happy clichés about the journey
ahead.(Frank Bruni, 5/31/09)
Founded in 1862 and visited by millions of people each year, F. A. O. Schwarz has become part
of the fabric of New York City. A Christmastime visit is a tradition for many families, if only to
gawk at stuffed animals that are so enormous, children cannot get their arms — let alone their
minds — around them. (Stephanie Rosenbloom, 5/28/09)
For all of its repressive power and privilege, the military junta in Myanmar is frightened of its
people — and one especially. Otherwise, why would the generals be using a show trial, and a
bogus infraction, to tighten the already unconscionable restrictions on the country’s prodemocracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi? (Editorial, 5/20/09)
As Hollywood reacted with sadness and shock to the death of Michael Jackson, Sony executives
in New York were on the phone all night Thursday with advisers to Mr. Jackson trying to
understand the financial morass the pop star is leaving behind.
(Tim Arango and Ben Sisario, 6/27/09)
INDIANAPOLIS — The United States Swimming National Championships are serving as a stark
reminder that while seasons change, fads fade and fresh faces turn tired, there remains one
constant: Michael Phelps. (Karen Crouse, 7/9/09)
The conservative-leaning Mr. O’Reilly has turned “The O’Reilly Factor” into a profit center for
the News Corporation by blitzing his opponents and espousing his opinions unapologetically. He
found his bête noire in the liberal-leaning Mr. Olbermann, the host of MSNBC’s “Countdown,”
who saw in Mr. O’Reilly a regenerating target he nicknamed the “Bill-o the Clown.”
(Brian Stelter, 8/1/09)
Donald Marshall Jr., a Mi’kmaq Indian whose wrongful conviction for murder became a cause
célèbre in Canada, leading to a sweeping re-examination of Nova Scotia’s legal system and
changes in Canada’s evidence disclosure rules, died Thursday in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He was 55
and lived in Membertou, Nova Scotia. (William Grimes, 8/7/09)
Willy DeVille, a singer and songwriter and the leader of the group Mink DeVille, whose
adventurous forays into rhythm and blues, Cajun music and salsa made him one of the most
original figures of the New York punk scene of the 1970s, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He
was 58. (William Grimes, 8/7/09)
The World Health Organization raised the alert level of the fast-spreading swine flu virus on
Wednesday afternoon, indicating that a “pandemic is imminent,” on the day that a Mexican
toddler who had been hospitalized in Houston became the first person to die from the disease on
United States soil. (Liz Robbins, 4/29/09)
LINCOLN, N.H. — The economy may be in the doldrums, but New England ski resorts are
having a great year, buoyed by plenty of snow and proximity to major metropolitan areas.
(Katie Zezima, 3/13/09)
It is no surprise that more students drop out of high school in big cities than elsewhere. Now,
however, a nationwide study shows the magnitude of the gap: the average high school graduation
rate in the nation’s 50 largest cities was 53 percent, compared with 71 percent in the suburbs.
(Sam Dillon) 4/22/09
Two days before their long-awaited trip to New York City, for many of them a foreign place, the
members of the Newark High School Sinfonia noisily gather for rehearsal. The cacophony ends
when the first of the first violinists, the best violinist, stands to lead others in tuning to an A.
(Dan Barry, 4/15/09)
Michael Stern, a swashbuckling foreign correspondent who filed some of the first dispatches from
Rome as Allied forces entered the city, and, in his later career as a philanthropist, helped save the
aircraft carrier Intrepid, died Tuesday in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 98 and lived in Lake Worth,
Fla. (William Grimes, 4/12/09)
André Previn has had a particularly wide-ranging career, as conductor, pianist, composer,
arranger and jazz performer. In honor of his 80th birthday on Monday, Carnegie Hall is
presenting three events that showcase him in his various musical guises.
(Vivien Schweitzer, 4/9/09)
More than half of all nonsmokers in New York City have elevated levels of a nicotine byproduct
in their blood indicating recent exposure to cigarette smoke, a city health department study has
found. The figure is surprisingly high given the city’s stringent public smoking ban, among the
toughest in the country. (Roni Caryn Rabin, 4/9/09)
CARACAS, Venezuela — Michael Moore, the filmmaker who is a bête noire of conservatives in
the United States, now appears to have made some enemies among the leftist supporters of
President Hugo Chávez. (Simon Romero, 10/26/09)
Now that the White House has declared swine flu a national emergency, and with the H1N1
vaccine in short supply, many Web sites have been peddling swine flu nostrums.
(Leslie Wayne, 11/6/09)
Of all the retailers hurt by the recession, no group has been pummeled as badly as luxury chains.
For months, high-end stores have posted double-digit declines, even as other types of retailers
have begun clawing their way toward sales gains. (Stephanie Rosenbloom, 11/6/09)
The Philadelphia Phillies won last season, but the Yankees vanquished them in six games this
time. (Tyler Kepner, 11/6/09)
Movie stars, who not so long ago vied to make $20 million or even $25 million a picture, have
seen their upfront salaries shrink in the last several years as DVD sales fell, star-driven vehicles
stumbled at the box office and studios grew increasingly tightfisted.(Michael Cieply 3/4/10)
MOSCOW — On Tuesday, six people will be voluntarily locked into a cloister of cramped,
hermetically sealed tubes woven inside a Moscow research facility the size of a high school
gymnasium. They will eat dehydrated food, breathe recycled air and be denied conversation with
practically everyone else but one another. And they must stay inside for 105 days. In a small step
in the direction of Mars, the international crew is embarking on a simulated flight to the planet to
test the limits of human tolerance for the isolation and monotony of interplanetary travel.
(Michael Schwirtz) 3/31/09
Chefs have to tap-dance between customers who are excited to eat rabbit and those who
find the mere idea intolerable. And despite its reputation as a staple in frugal times, rabbit
isn’t cheap these days. A seven-pound live rabbit might weigh four pounds cleaned and
cost a restaurant $25 to $30. D’Artagnan sells a whole fryer rabbit for $36.99 on its Web
site. (Kim Severson) 3/3/10
EDOWINÑA, Venezuela — The hunt for the tapir, a large mammal that roams the
remote Caura forest in southern Venezuela, began at dawn. Sunlight peeked through the
tree canopy, a piece of one of South America’s last virtually pristine river basins.
(Simon Romero) 11/30/09
The Taliban hard-liners who rule most of Afghanistan are arguably the world's most
vociferous enemies of modern technology. When they aren't busy enforcing the rules that
prohibit females from leaving their homes unveiled or unaccompanied by a close male
relative, the Taliban religious police roam neighborhoods searching for radios, TV's,
VCR's, phonographs, satellite dishes or computers, which are promptly destroyed while
the owners are arrested. (Joe Sharkey) 10/25/98
Jim Bourdon, chief executive of Accounting Management Solutions in Waltham, Mass.,
said his advisory board persuaded him to be more aggressive about jettisoning ineffective
consultants and replacing them with star performers. The result? His clients report that
his company’s consultants are either meeting or exceeding the standards set by Mr.
Bourdon and his team. (Adriana Gardella) 2/18/10
For years, soda has been the quintessential American drink, considered the perfect thirst
quencher, morning pick-me-up or accompaniment to lunch or dinner.
(Melanie Warner) 3/9/06
Gordon Parks the photographer, filmmaker, writer and composer who used his
prodigious, largely self-taught talents to chronicle the African-American experience and
to retell his own personal history, died yesterday at his home in Manhattan. He was 93.
(Andy Grundberg) 3/8/06
Like most of the 800 or more indigenous languages of North America when Europeans
first arrived, Powhatan's became extinct as Indians declined in number, dispersed and lost
their cultural identity. (John Noble Wilford ) 3/7/06
The visit by Mr. Bush, the first by an American president in six years, threatened to
further roil a nation still seething over the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were
first published in a Danish newspaper. (Carlotta Gall/Elisabeth Bumiller) 3/4/06
Iraq has moved perilously close to civil war. Everyone who knows anything about the
tortured history of that country, cobbled together from disparate parts by British colonial
officials less than a century ago, has always dreaded such an outcome. (Editorial) 3/1/06
Every winter, when the trees drop their leaves, a certain house in Laurelton, Queens,
comes into full view. It is a decrepit Victorian on a cul-de-sac at 141-36 222nd Street, a
structure whose condition has made it known as "the haunted house."
(Michelle O'Donnell) 2/27/06
With every new riot over the Danish cartoons, it becomes clearer that the protests are no
longer about the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, but about the demagoguery of
Islamic extremists. The demonstrators are undeniably outraged by what they perceive as
blasphemy. But radical Islamists are trying to harness that indignation to their political
goals and their theocratic ends by fomenting hatred for the West and for moderate
regimes in the Muslim world. These are dangerous games, and they require the most
resolute response. (Editorial) 2/25/06
Ex-Governor Apologizes for Ogling Woman (Headline) 2/19/06
Opera regularly traffics in primal and heightened emotional states — grief, despair, rage,
ecstasy — that would challenge the greatest stage actors to bring to life even in artfully
wrought drama. Opera singers must strike a particularly tricky balance: the performance
must be big, to match the size of the music and the scope of the feeling, but size must not
swamp truth. (Charles Isherwood) 1/26/10
Tiny, sweet Maine shrimp have a short season, a mere six weeks in winter. But the
current harvest is so robust, the state Department of Marine Resources has extended it to
May 29. (Florence Fabricant) 1/13/10
At a time when the music industry is suffering punishing sales losses, and technology has
helped music become ubiquitous, is it more important to win the official approval of the
Recording Academy’s 12,000 voting members, or simply to get the face time on
television? (Ben Sisario) 1/29/10
Not everyone thought it was adorable in September when a 13-year-old wunderkind
blogger named Tavi was given a front-row seat at the fashion shows of Marc Jacobs,
Rodarte and others. (Eric Wilson) 12/27/09
GENERAL SANTOS, the Philippines — After a day of barbering, Rodolfo Gregorio
went to his neighborhood karaoke bar still smelling of talcum powder. Putting aside his
glass of Red Horse Extra Strong beer, he grasped a microphone with a habitué’s selfassuredness and briefly stilled the room with the Platters’ “My Prayer.”
(Norimitsu Onishi) 2/7/10
WASHINGTON — In the great health care debate of 2009, President Obama has cast
himself as a cold-eyed pragmatist, willing to compromise in exchange for votes.
(Sheryl Gay Stolberg) 12/18/09
Making her debut as a Fox News analyst, former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska immediately
picked up the network's mantra on Tuesday night, promising that she would provide ''fair
and balanced commentary.'' (Kate Zernike) 1/13/10
At universities and high schools across the country, football season is also marching-band
season — time to soak up a particular form of American folk art, in which music and
bodies work in tandem to create spectacles of design, movement and sound that rival the
precision dancing of the Rockettes. (Gia Kourlas) 12/27/09
KABUL, Afghanistan — A volatile town in southern Afghanistan erupted Tuesday as
rumors spread that American servicemen had desecrated a Koran and defiled local
women in a nearby village. Taliban provocateurs on the scene whipped up a crowd and
goaded it to violence, local officials said. (Dexter Filkins) 1/13/10
Once seen as an afterthought relegated to the basement or attached to a sweaty gym area,
hotel pools in recent years have become destinations in themselves, especially in areas
with cold winters. Properties in urban and suburban areas like the Ritz-Carlton,
Westchester, which opened in late 2007, have created artfully executed spaces with prime
views and amenities like poolside massages, cocktails, meal service and meditation
sessions. (Shivani Vora) 12/18/09
J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most important American writer to
emerge since World War II but who then turned his back on success and adulation,
becoming the Garbo of letters, famous for not wanting to be famous, died on Wednesday
at his home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. He
was 91. (Charles McGrath) 1/29/10
Mr. Salinger’s literary reputation rests on a slender but enormously influential body of
published work: the novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” the collection “Nine Stories” and
two compilations, each with two long stories about the fictional Glass family: “Franny
and Zooey” and “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.
(Charles McGrath) 1/29/10
“Catcher” was published in 1951, and its very first sentence, distantly echoing Mark
Twain, struck a brash new note in American literature: “If you really want to hear about
it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy
childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and
all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to
know the truth.”
(Charles McGrath) 1/29/10
He told the editors of Saturday Review that he was “good and sick” of seeing his
photograph on the dust jacket of “The Catcher in the Rye” and demanded that it be
removed from subsequent editions. Charles McGrath) 1/29/10
With its cynical, slangy vernacular voice (Holden’s two favorite expressions are “phony”
and “goddam”), its sympathetic understanding of adolescence and its fierce if alienated
sense of morality and distrust of the adult world, the novel struck a nerve in cold war
America and quickly attained cult status, especially among the young. Reading “Catcher”
used to be an essential rite of passage, almost as important as getting your learner’s
permit. (Charles McGrath) 1/29/10
As a young man Mr. Salinger had a long, melancholy face and deep soulful eyes, but
now, in the few photographs that surfaced, he looked gaunt and gray, like someone in an
El Greco painting. He spent more time and energy avoiding the world, it was sometimes
said, than most people do in embracing it, and his elusiveness only added to the
mythology growing up around him. (Charles McGrath) 1/29/10
I admit it. I am a last-minute shopper. And last-minute shoppers pay the price literally
and figuratively. Literally, because when we rush to the nearest mall we often have to pay
a premium to buy that ... well, I don’t know what — I’m not done shopping. Figuratively,
we pay with anxiety, racing against the clock to find a suitable gift, not to mention having
to compete with other sharp-elbowed last-minute shoppers. (Roy Furchgott) 12/24/09
A hospital, as the saying goes, is no place for sick people. It’s filled with hazards to your
health, not least of which are the myriad infections, missed diagnoses, dosage mistakes
and other complications that arise from human error. And in a hospital, human error
seems all but inevitable. (Robin Marantz Henig) 12/24/09
Those days are gone, or at least numbered. Increasingly museums are moving away from
the middle-school approach to feeding visitors, with its emphasis on a lowest-commondenominator menu, in favor of stylish restaurants that offer fine dining to go with the
fine art. (Larry Rohter) 1/29/10
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Long before its ground started heaving, Haiti was already a
byword for a broken place. Its leaders were considered kleptocrats; its people were jawdroppingly poor. But there was still a pride that burst forth from the people here, linked
both to the country’s heroic history and to the vibrant culture that united them and
enabled them to endure. (Marc Lacey) 1/24/10
(The vocabulary word in this passage is motif. But in its third sentence there are — count
'em — three similes!) In his overture to “Carmen,” Bizet introduces a recurring motif that
listeners have invariably associated with fate and with the fatal liaison of Carmen and
Don José. The composer meant it to be played with the curtain lowered. Then, as the
stage action proceeds, he develops it powerfully, bringing it back often, in hauntingly
different versions: like a flash of lightning, like a slow but tremendous warning, like an
irresistible undertow. (Alastair Macaulay) 1/15/10
People passing by the new Apple Store at Broadway and 67th Street on Sunday evening
noticed something unusual happening inside the spacious salesroom: a pianist playing a
grand piano on a makeshift concert platform right next to the towering window wall.
(Anthony Tommasini) 1/5/10
The first drug licensed to counter osteoporosis, Fosamax, is now available generically as
alendronate, which can be taken once a day or, at a higher dose, once a week.
(Jane Brody) 1/4/10
Just one month after a close brush with bankruptcy, Dubai celebrated the opening of the
world’s tallest building on Monday — a rocket-shaped edifice that soars 2,717 feet and
has views that reach 60 miles. (Landon Thomas Jr.) 1/5/10
Miep Gies, the last survivor among Anne Frank’s protectors and the woman who
preserved the diary that endures as a testament to the human spirit in the face of
unfathomable evil, died Monday night, the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam said. She
was 100. (Richard Goldstein) 1/12/10
Morris E. Lasker, a federal judge in New York and Massachusetts for four decades who
struck down squalid, often brutal conditions in New York City jails and upheld prisoners’
rights perhaps more than any other jurist of his era, died Friday in Cambridge, Mass. He
was 92 and had homes in Cambridge and Chilmark, Mass.
(Robert D. McFadden) 12/29/09
The joyous and miserable chaos of adolescence is distilled into a remarkable hour of
theater in “Once and for All We’re Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and
Listen,” a production from the Belgian Ontroerend Goed company installed at the Duke
on 42nd Street as part of the New Victory Theater’s season of family-friendly theater.
(Charles Isherwood) 1/11/10
MANILA — A nationwide gun ban took effect Sunday in the Philippines to stave off any
increase in political violence as elections draw closer, officials said.
(Carlos H. Conde) 1/11/10
Anyone truly interested in identifying the most irritating reality show of 2009 need look
no further than “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” on E!, now inexplicably in its fourth
season. Maybe people are still watching this show, about a vapid family that has done
nothing to earn its fame, because they have been numbed into a sort of trance that creates
the illusion of being entertained. (Neil Genzlinger) 1/4/10
Harold Bell, who along with two forest rangers and another colleague created Woodsy
Owl, the plump anthropomorphic bird in a red-feathered cap who for nearly four decades
has exhorted youngsters to “Give a hoot, don’t pollute,” died Dec. 4 at his home in Los
Angeles. He was 90. (Dennis Hevesi) 12/13/09
After a year of recession and uncertainty, the last thing retailers needed was a blizzard to
hit the weekend before Christmas. Snow, sleet and wind on the East Coast gave already
tight-fisted consumers another reason to stay away from the mall Saturday and Sunday,
normally blockbuster days for retailers catering to last-minute shoppers.
(Stephanie Rosenbloom) 12/21/09
(The word, penchant, is in the first sentence; the rest of the passage shows where it
leads.) Growing up in the ’70s, John Halamka was a bookish child with a penchant for
science and electronics. He wore black horn-rimmed glasses and buttoned his shirts up to
the collar. “I was constantly being called a geek or a nerd,” he recalled, chuckling. Dr.
Halamka grew up to be something of a cool nerd, with a career that combines his deep
interests in medicine and computing, and downtime that involves rock climbing and
kayaking. Now 47, Dr. Halamka is the chief information officer at the Harvard Medical
School, a practicing emergency-ward physician and an adviser to the Obama
administration on electronic health records.
(Steve Lohr) 12/21/09
For 23 years Elena Doria coached, cajoled, hectored and inspired the children of the
Metropolitan Opera chorus, earning near-legendary status among many regular
operagoers and the musically inclined families who sent their young ones into her care.
But not this season. Ms. Doria departed abruptly in January, with no public
announcement from the Met. (Daniel J. Wakin) 12/21/09
We are all familiar with personal accounts of the Holocaust and the Gulag, less so with
descriptions of the torture chamber that was Mao’s China. That is why Er Tai Gao’s
spare, stoical remembrance, “In Search of My Homeland: A Memoir of a Chinese Labor
Camp,” is a valuable contribution to the literature of the horrific 20th century.
(Barry Gewen) 12/21/09
“UP IN THE AIR,” the Paramount Pictures film starring George Clooney as a peripatetic
executive nearing his goal of earning 10 million frequent flier miles, is generating plenty
of Oscar chatter. But the film, which opened in 12 cities on Dec. 4 in advance of a wide
release Christmas Day, also is causing excitement among marketers, since it prominently
features companies, most notably American Airlines, in a favorable light. (Andrew Adam
Newman) 12/21/09
Iran’s fraudulently elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will clearly stop at nothing
to stifle legitimate dissent and hold on to his illegitimate power. The most recent horror is
the sharp rise in executions since the June presidential elections. (Editorial) 11/26/09)
Like a couple who have lived together for too long, New York and New Jersey have
bickered about any number of things: who can lay claim to Liberty Island, why New
Jersey sports teams hold ticker-tape parades down Broadway, and what congestion
pricing for driving into parts of Manhattan could accomplish.
(Vincent M. Mallozzi) 10/28/09
During a battle in 1987, over whether the Statue of Liberty should be repositioned, Mayor
Edward I Koch quipped that the venerable landmark would continue “facing us and
showing another side of her personality to New Jersey.”
(Vincent M. Mallozzi) 10/28/09
Michael R. Bloomberg, the Wall Street mogul whose fortune catapulted him into New
York's City Hall, has set another staggering financial record: He has now spent more of
his own money than any other individual in United States history in the pursuit of public
office. (Michael Barbaro and David W. Chen) 10/24/09
BERLIN — As thousands lined up to catch a glimpse of Nefertiti at the newly reopened
Neues Museum here, another skirmish erupted in the culture wars. Egypt’s chief
archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, announced that his country wanted its queen handed back
forthwith, unless Germany could prove that the 3,500-year-old bust of Akhenaten’s wife
wasn’t spirited illegally out of Egypt nearly a century ago.
(Michael Kimmelman) 10/24/09
Soupy Sales, whose zany television routines turned the smashing of a pie to the face into
a madcap art form, died Thursday night. He was 83. (Richard Goldstein) 10/23/09
REDMOND, Wash. Ray Ozzie, the chief software architect at Microsoft, bristles when
asked whether people think that new versions of his company’s flagship software — like
Windows and Office — are exciting. “It’s tremendously exciting,” he exclaims
defensively, wheeling back from an office table and allowing his hands to flail. “Are you
kidding?” (Ashlee Vance) 10/18/09
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — For hours on Thursday, people around the country were
gripped by television images of a homemade silver balloon careening through the skies
near here, whooshing over fields and trees and yards with a 6-year-old boy believed
inside. (Dan Frosch and Monica Davey) 10/16/09 [Monica Davies’ high school
newspaper adviser was Wayne Brasler, who continues to teach and advise the U-High
Midway at the University of Chicago lab school.]
While concern over the spread of the H1N1 virus sweeps the country, epidemiologists in
New York and a few other cities that were awash in swine flu last spring are detecting
very little evidence of a resurgence.
(Anemona Hartocollis and Donald G. McNeil Jr.) 10/8/09
Seeking to undercut his rival’s main rationale for a third term, the Democratic candidate
for mayor, William C Thompson Jr. issued a blistering attack Wednesday on Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg's economic record, arguing that he has created many low-paying
jobs, crippled small businesses with fees, and relied on megadevelopments that eat up
taxpayer subsidies. (Michael Barbaro) 10/8/09
Donal McLaughlin, an architect and graphic designer whose hastily concocted design for
a lapel pin became one of the world’s most recognizable symbols — the official United
Nations emblem, showing the continents embraced by olive branches — died Sept. 27 at
his home in Garrett Park, Md. He was 102. (William Grimes) 9/2/09
David Letterman, who built his career skewering philandering politicians and show
business “weasels” and “boneheads,” finds himself in the middle of his own celebrity
scandal, after he admitted having multiple affairs with employees of his production
company, Worldwide Pants. (Bill Carter and Brian Stelter) 10/3/09
There shall be no cupcakes. No chocolate cake and no carrot cake. According to New
York City’s latest regulations, not even zucchini bread makes the cut. In an effort to limit
how much sugar and fat students put in their bellies at school, the Education Department
has effectively banned most bake sales, the lucrative if not quite healthy fund-raising tool
for generations of teams and clubs. (Jennifer Medina) 10/3/09
In 1824, a publisher wrote to the first Duke of Wellington with a threat: he was about to
publish a salacious memoir by a former mistress of the duke’s. Money could keep
Wellington out of those red-hot pages. (John Schwartz) 10/3/09
Just as “Late Show” was soaring past “The Tonight Show” in the ratings, an extortion
scheme by a CBS employee drove Mr. Letterman to admit to the kind of sordid affairs —
with staff members — that he so mercilessly mocks others for being involved in.
(Alessandra Stanley) 10/3/09
PITTSBURGH — One year after a financial crisis that began in the United States tipped
the world into a severe recession, leaders from both rich countries and fast-growing
powerhouses like China agreed on Friday to a far-reaching effort to revamp the economic
system. (Edmund L. Andrews) 9/26/09
Kanye West may have said on Monday night that he owes Taylor Swift a more personal
apology, but Jay Leno owes Mr. West a vast debt of gratitude. Mr. West’s solipsistic, but
touchingly unpolished mea culpa gave the premiere of ‘The Jay Leno Show’ a
serendipitous and very helpful boost.” (Alessandra Stanley) 9/16/09
Serena Williams became unhinged in a shocking display of vitriol and profanity toward a
line judge at the most inopportune time Saturday night — right before match point for
Kim Clijsters in the semifinals of the United States Open. (Liz Robbins) 9/13/09
Larry Gelbart, the writer whose caustic wit was a creative force behind the enduring
success of the television series “M*A*S*H,” Broadway hits like “A Funny Thing
Happened on the Way to the Forum” and film comedies like “Tootsie,” died Friday at his
home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 81. (Robert Berkvist) 9/11/09
It is difficult to overstate President Obama's unpopularity in most of Louisiana. He lost
handily to Senator John McCain here, picking up only 14 percent of the white vote (the
state is roughly two-thirds white). His health care plan is unpopular. His cap-and-trade
plan to reduce greenhouse gases, in a state so dependent on oil and gas, is anathema.
(Campbell Robertson) 9/11/09
Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum fell on his sword Thursday, taking
responsibility for not listing Brett Favre on the injury report late last season, even though
tests indicated Favre had a torn biceps muscle. (Judy Battista) 9/11/09
The answer to the eternal mystery of what makes up a Filet-O-Fish sandwich turns out to
involve an ugly creature from the sunless depths of the Pacific, whose bounty, it seems, is
not limitless. (William J. Broad) 9/10/09
The world’s insatiable appetite for fish, with its disastrous effects on populations of
favorites like red snapper, monkfish and tuna, has driven commercial fleets to deeper
waters in search of creatures unlikely to star on the Food Network.
(William J. Broad) 9/10/09
Before a hall filled with his friends, protégés and occasional competitors, the late CBS
anchorman Walter Cronkite was remembered at a memorial service on Wednesday for
upholding a journalistic standard that is, President Obama said, “a little bit harder to find
today.” (Brian Stelter) 9/9/09
Charles E. Hughes, who led a municipal labor union for 30 years, winning substantial
gains for part-time workers in New York City schools and becoming a political power
broker, but whose career ended ignominiously with a corruption conviction and a prison
term, died Aug. 30 in Manhasset, N.Y. He was 68 and lived in Queens.
(Bruce Weber) 9/8/09
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Children are returning to classrooms across the nation
during one of the most tumultuous periods in American education, in which many
thousands of teachers and other school workers — no one yet knows how many — were
laid off in dozens of states because of plummeting state and local revenue. Many were
hired back, thanks in part to $100 billion in federal stimulus money. (Sam Dillon) 9/8/09
As a columnist, I receive numerous e-mail messages about my articles. Many are
thoughtful, but some are downright mean — and those are often anonymous. Although
it’s not always easy, I have to remind myself that a vituperative comment is not a valid
criticism. (Alina Tugend) 8/29/09
From the time he arrived in the United States from Chile as a college student in 1965, the
photographer Camilo José Vergara has been haunting, and haunted by, American cities.
(Holland Cotter) 5/29/09
As nearly 200,000 United States troops fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, a little-known unit
is engaged in the herculean and at times quixotic task of trying to account for more than
84,000 Americans still missing from the nation’s previous wars. Most of the effort has
focused on those lost in Vietnam, but under pressure from families, the military has paid
new attention in the past two years to a vast majority of the missing — some 74,000 —
still unaccounted for in Europe and the Pacific during World War II.
(Elisabeth Bumiller) 9/6/09
WASHINGTON — Before Congress’s August break, the chief aides to Senate
Democrats met in a nondescript Senate conference room with three former advisers to
President Bill Clinton The topic: lessons learned the last time a Democratic president
tried, but failed disastrously, to overhaul the health care system.(Jackie Calmes) 9/6/09
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Every year during Ramadan, the poor from every corner of the
island of Java gravitate here to the capital to beg. They wander in between cars stuck at
traffic corners, in the shadows of the city’s skyscrapers and gigantic shopping malls, in
the knowledge that Islam’s most sacred month makes people particularly charitable.
(Norimitsu Onishi) 9/6/09
Girding for a second wave of the swine flu pandemic that has already killed more than
50 people in New York City, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg outlined a strategy on
Tuesday that was equal parts infection control and panic control. (Sewell Chan and Lisa
W. Foderaro) 9/2/09
BOSTON — Under relentless rain and with heavy hearts, hundreds of mourners both
great and ordinary bade farewell to Senator Edward M. Kennedy here on Saturday. He
was remembered as the beloved youngest child of a dynasty who grew to be its patriarch,
a man who left his mark on millions of Americans through the laws he shepherded over
more than four decades, during which he became one of the most powerful political
figures in the country. (David M. Broder) 8/29/09
Stanley H. Kaplan, a businessman and teacher who carved out a lucrative niche in the
world of for-profit education and made test-preparation classes a rite of passage for
students across America, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 90 and had homes in
Manhattan and Boca Raton, Fla. (Isn’t it fitting that there should be two vocabulary
words and an expression in Mr. Kaplan’s obituary.) (Karen W. Arenson) 8/24/09
Is there any exhortation more predictable in tone — and more saccharine in text — than
the commencement speech? It’s a time-honored, timeworn vessel of good faith and great
expectations, bedecked with rays of sunshine and glittering with happy clichés about the
journey ahead. (Frank Bruni) 5/31/09
CLEVELAND — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame celebrated a raucous homecoming
here on Saturday night, as Jeff Beck, Metallica, Run-DMC, Bobby Womack and Little
Anthony and the Imperials were inducted to the sounds of blasting guitars and lusty
roars. (Ben Sisario) 4/5/09
Eunice W. Johnson, the creator of the Ebony Fashion Fair, a celebrated annual tour of
nearly 200 cities that has showcased haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion for a
mostly African-American audience for more than 50 years, died on Jan. 3 at her home in
Chicago. Mrs. Johnson, who was also one of the first entrepreneurs to market cosmetics
made particularly for black women, was 93. (Dennis Hevesi) 1/9/10
Driving through the South Bronx last summer, Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler spotted a
man illegally washing car windshields at a stoplight. Enraged, he called the police desk at
City Hall from his cellphone (it’s on speed dial), ordered that the man be arrested on the
spot and requested a copy of his rap sheet, which, as it happened, was voluminous. It
listed 50 prior arrests. (Michael Barbaro) 4/10/09
Jack Dreyfus, a New York financier who ran one of the nation’s most successful mutual
funds but left Wall Street on a quixotic crusade to promote an epilepsy drug as a miracle
cure-all, died Friday in Manhattan. He was 95. (Jad Mouawad) 3/28/09
COLUMBIA, S.C. — For a millionaire, Gov. Mark Sanford has a reputation for frugality
that borders on the extreme. Former employees say he has been known to require his staff
to use both sides of a Post-it note. When Mr. Sanford was a congressman, he slept on a
futon in his office and returned his housing allowance. And when, after he moved into the
Governor’s Mansion here, tax collectors declared his family’s home on Sullivan’s Island
a secondary residence subject to a higher tax rate, he appealed and won.
(Shaila Dewan) 4/4/09
Dr. William B. Schwartz, a leading health economist whose studies of the effects of
market forces on medicine led him to predict that unbridled costs could lead to a
rationing of care, died on March 15 at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86.
(Jeremy Pearce) 4/4/09
NEW DELHI — When the Indian composer A. R. Rahman accepted two Oscars for his
work on “Slumdog Millionaire,” he saved his most effusive thanks for his mother.
“Mother’s here, her blessings are there with me,” Mr. Rahman, 43, told 36 million Oscar
viewers. “I am grateful for her to have come all the way.” Later, he remembered to thank
his wife, who had also come with him to California. (Heather Timmons) 4/4/09
As Hollywood reacted with sadness and shock to the death of Michael Jackson, Sony
executives in New York were on the phone all night Thursday with advisers to Mr.
Jackson trying to understand the financial morass the pop star is leaving behind.
(Tim Arango and Ben Sisario) 6/27/09
INDIANAPOLIS — The United States Swimming National Championships are serving
as a stark reminder that while seasons change, fads fade and fresh faces turn tired, there
remains one constant: Michael Phelps. (Karen Crouse 7/9/09)
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